Tear Drop Trailer

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Project by Andy posted 09-26-2007 03:00 PM 13054 views 32 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I helped my sister-in-law, Janice, build this little camp trailer to tow behind her Subura. She bought a set of plans but we only used the pattern for the side profile.The rest is our design. Overall size is 4’x4’x8’. The frame is a folding trailer from Harbor Freight, modified and stiffened. The sides are made using one sheet of 3/4” ply for the inner core and another for the outer core. The inner core is notched for sliding dovetails on the cross ribs. This aligns everything and locks it together side to side tight as a drum. The cutout on the sides are to accept 3/4” rigid foam insulation and the top gets 1.5” insulation. This little guy is very quiet when your inside and stays warm from body heat. The top and sides are covered with 1/4” ply and then aluminum sheeting.
The sleeping area is about 45” wide x 71” long, and has an overhead shelf for books etc, and two more over the footwell for clothing. The back lifts up and is called the galley.There is a pullout rack for a cooler, a place for a camp stove, and plenty of storage for all your kit. No electric lighting, no sink, no toilet, no real stove. Very basic, but complete and cozy. Total weight is about 800# lbs and tongue weight is about 120#lbs. You have to keep looking in your mirrors to make sure its still following you.The sweet thing is when you get to your campsite,one person can lift the tongue and wheel it into position. We crowd these together at campsites…because we can.

Cool factor:
In Oregon you dont have to license these as long as they dont have a fixed stove, they are considered a utility trailer.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

30 comments so far

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5368 days

#1 posted 09-26-2007 03:20 PM

An outstanding job. Makes me want to go and camp out. (I still use my 1967 Apache pop-up, though it needs work.)

Not to be nosy but about how many American dollars? (I need to replace that Apache pop-up)

Where did you find the aluminum that wide?

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5327 days

#2 posted 09-26-2007 03:31 PM

Pretty cool. I’m almost too claustrophobic to look at the picture, but cool nonetheless.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5590 days

#3 posted 09-26-2007 03:38 PM

A very nice low budget camper. A very nice crafty project.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5509 days

#4 posted 09-26-2007 04:39 PM


-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5285 days

#5 posted 09-26-2007 04:50 PM

Now that’s the way to go – keep it simple! I quit camping several years ago, because it was just too much work to load everything you needed into the car. This looks like the right approach to me – hook up the trailer with everything already in it and go.

Nice job constructing this useful project.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5253 days

#6 posted 09-26-2007 04:55 PM

Now Andy, that’s a BIG box. Pretty neat.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 5452 days

#7 posted 09-26-2007 04:58 PM

Don will love it – a box on wheels! Nice job.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View joey's profile


396 posts in 5195 days

#8 posted 09-26-2007 05:02 PM

WOW, you did a great job, I have been wanting to build one of this for sometime now, just can find a the right trailer,(cheap) might have to look into Harbor Freight. Thanks for sharing…..Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Andy's profile


1724 posts in 5199 days

#9 posted 09-26-2007 05:52 PM

Thanks all.
@PanamaJack-The cost on this was about $1100.00.But my wife and I built one for ourselves that is 5’ wide x 4’ high and 10’long,that has a Queen size mattress and we only have about $800.00 into it.The aluminum sheets are fairly easy to get thru any sheetmetal fabrication company and runs about $60.00 for a 4×8.
@Tom-I dont like confined spaces either,but this isnt a problem for me.When lieing down,my shoulder is at the door opening and my hand is just below the handle.Its easy to bend my knees and pivot thru the opening in one fluid motion if the need arises. :-)
@Joey-We salvaged a camptrailer (free)and gutted it for the frame and axle.This is the best way to go,if possible.Make sure and crawl under and take measurements, etc… first.We tried a tent trailer,but the frame needed to be completely cut apart and rewelded to work,so it wasnt worth it.Another advantage of using a regular trailer frame is that they typically have 14” or 15” wheels which look more retro.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View Andy's profile


1724 posts in 5199 days

#10 posted 09-26-2007 06:06 PM

Here is a link to if anyone wants to pursue a project like this.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View Buckskin's profile


486 posts in 5278 days

#11 posted 09-26-2007 06:36 PM

There is a guy here in town that makes them. They run about $8,000. Seems kind of high to me.

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 5192 days

#12 posted 09-26-2007 10:59 PM

What a delight!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5429 days

#13 posted 09-26-2007 11:24 PM

Andy -

I have looked at the teadrop site in the past. These are very cool little trailers wih almost a cult following. You did an awesome job!



View Splinters's profile


190 posts in 5474 days

#14 posted 09-27-2007 12:42 AM

Nice job Andy….I didn’t build mine …but we love our Cozy Crusier.

Cozy Crusier

-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - -

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 5368 days

#15 posted 09-27-2007 01:07 AM

DW and I love teardrops. I have one as a project in the future. An excellent and low cost way to camp out.

-- BLOG -

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